Anyone wanting to help manage a controversial trust holding assets benefitting the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has until the end of today to apply.
During a Safety Net meeting I attended Thursday morning, Utah Attorney General spokesman Paul Murphy said that officials are currently taking applications to serve on the board of the United Effort Plan. The plan is a multi million dollar trust that holds much of the property in Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.
The call for applications is a major step forward after years of contention surrounding the trust. Founded by members of what became the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the trust was eventually taken over by the state in 2005 over concerns about mismanagement. At that time, a judge appointed accountant Bruce Wisan to oversee the trust.
Since that time, the trust as been an almost endless source of contention, with various interested parties — including people living on trust property, exiled ex-FLDS members, government officials in Utah and Arizona, and others— all disagreeing on how to fairly distribute the property. In April, Wisan’s attorney’s told a judge they have finally devised an acceptable solution.
That solution is appointing a group of people — ideally five, according to Murphy — who will take over for Wisan. Potential board members must meet a variety of requirements, including:
≥ Being able to act independently and in the best interest of the trust.
≥ Having the ability administer the trust expeditiously and in good faith.
≥ Being loyal to the trust, including administering it in the best interest of the beneficiaries.
≥ Having the ability to be impartial and prudent.
Beyond those requirements, board members can be pretty much anyone: polygamists, non-polygamists, people in and out of Hildale and Colorado City, or whoever. During that hearing in April, someone even joked that I should apply. (Though of course, I won’t.)
Once all the applications are in, Wisan and the attorneys general offices in Utah and Arizona will review them. Applicants also will undergo background checks, a public comment period and multiple levels of judicial review before a judge ultimately decides which people to appoint.
“Who ever is on it will be thoroughly vetted,” Murphy said Thursday, adding that the review process could begin as soon as Monday.
Murphy said the plan to assemble a board was presented June 20 in Colorado City. About 75 people attended that meeting.
Applications to serve on the board must be postmarked by Thursday, July 11. There is a $50 application fee, which will be used to pay for the selection process. More information is available at www.ueptrust.com. Applications may be sent to Judge Denise Lindberg, 450 S. State St., Salt Lake City, UT 84114.
Have you applied? Why? We’d like to hear from you. — Jim Dalrymple II